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Athmopadesha Shathakam Verse-18

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Athmopadesha Shathakam (One Hundred verses of Self-Instruction)
Translation & explanation of Verse-18

“Aham” is not at all darkness.
Were it so, we would have remained blind to our own beingness,
Unaware of ourselves as ‘I’, ‘I’.
For the reason that we are aware of ourselves,
It should be declared for everyone to know
That “Aham”, is no darkness.

(“Ahamirulalla irulaakilandharaay naam
Arivathinaal ahamanthakaaramallenna
Key message-
Here, a question is aroused to know the real form of Self. ‘I’ itself is Self. This is to be remembered. That is not darkness. It is light. In order to prove it, Sree Narayana Guru gives us the evidence that otherwise, we would not have known that everyone of us is ‘I’ existing in several entities. Moreover, in verse-10, it was clarified through a simple experiment that even in physical darkness, every one of us is aware of individual ‘I’ consciousness. Therefore, it can be confirmed that ‘I’ or the Self is not darkness.

There is a common notion among the people that the knowledge about Self is a secret aspect. But if we see the Self as ‘I’ consciousness, it becomes the most publicized knowledge. Because, there is no living being, who does not know about own ‘I’. Therefore, there is nothing to keep secretly in this knowledge. This principle is to be let know loudly to all people. Sree Narayana Guru himself has done that.

At the same time, it cannot be understood by everyone. In verse-17, it was seen that who all can understand this principle very clearly. Even if this knowledge is passed to all, only those who are qualified will understand this secret.

““Aham” is not at all darkness.
Were it so, we would have remained blind to our own beingness,
Unaware of ourselves as ‘I’, ‘I’”

(“Ahamirulalla irulaakilandharaay naam

Occasionally, we get into a state of emotional crisis. A kind of depression comes, and we feel very wretched. At such moments, we may even say, “I don’t see any light. I am in a state of absolute darkness”. Because of the negative attitude we are in, we do not see the contradiction in this statement, which is that for us to know we are in a state of ignorance implies a degree of knowledge. If there is no knowledge at all, one would not even see that one was in a state of darkness. At least, there is that much faint light.

This light of knowledge, which is always shimmering like a spark within us, is not brought from outside. It is self-luminous - it is our own awareness. With this awareness, we can at least say “I am”. When we say “I am ignorant”, we have to first say “I am”. Then it is not ignorance.

When you sit with your eyes closed in a dark room, are you not absolutely sure of your own existence? Don’t you see that very clearly? What kind of light is that? From where does that awareness come? When we look at the clarity of the awareness “I am”, we are astonished by the self-luminous principle which seems to reside within us. This inner light is called ‘Chith’ or chaithanya, gnosis.

Turn to the very self with which you say this, and that brings you back to the brightest spot within yourself. Then you won’t lose the stable footing of your life. You are reclaiming your own self-awareness. If you habilitate yourself in the bright center of your own self, then you can withdraw from that which frightens you, that which makes life dark.
“For the reason that we are aware of ourselves,
It should be declared for everyone to know
That “Aham”, is no darkness”.

(“Arivathinaal ahamanthakaaramallenna

Most of us think that realization is very hard to achieve, that it is a rare attainment of only a few people. The Guru wants us to know it is not so. Realization is of all people; everybody is already experiencing it in some measure. It is just that we do not know it is Self-realization.

After we realize that the knowledge we have within us is Self-knowledge, Sree Narayana Guru wants us to go one step farther and tell it to another person. When you do that, the other person at least knows that someone is speaking to him. When I say “I know I exist,” the other person says “Yes, I also know I exist”. There is homogeneity in the understanding of two people of the concept ‘I’. Just as I say “I exist,” you also say “I exist”. There is an identity involved: the quality of awareness of the ‘I’ in me is identical with the ‘I’ in you; in a third person, fourth person, of all the people in the world. So at least, we all have one common knowledge – we all recognize “I am”. In this basic awareness “I am”, the Guru wants us to see the unity of all awareness. This is the common platform on which we can link ourselves as part of the one binding knowledge of all beings.

First I know that I exist. Using the same principle, I know that you also exist. If you do not see and you are crying and carrying on, and I see there is no reason for it, that it is only because you don’t see the divinity and imperishability of your own being, then I feel compassionate. Then I come to you and say, “Now look here my brother, my sister, why should you cry like this? You are all light, imperishable and immortal.” So we get into friendship and fellowship. With our fellowship, we mutually recognize each other as belonging to the same truth. We get into a bond of love based on truth. Like the twist and woof that make-up a whole cloth, I have my Self-knowledge and the knowledge that the same Self is also in you. The whole universe can become part of our own Self, and all can come to realize it together.

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